In a bizarre, incongruous radio documentary broadcast on Good Friday on “The Current,” a nationally syndicated program on the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation network, the growing creation movement in the United States—and AiG–US and its Creation Museum in particular—was depicted as an important ally with the political forces that wish to advance the causes of U.S. President George W. Bush, who is up for re-election this Fall.
This 30-minute segment (and a live panel discussion that followed) was heard throughout the world’s second largest country1 as a part of the CBC’s look at religious topics during Good Friday/Easter weekend. The content of the program (with the somewhat enigmatic title “A True Story’) was not a complete surprise, however. A CBC reporter spent several hours with AiG’s Ken Ham and Mark Looy at AiG’s offices in Florence, Kentucky, USA earlier this year. During that visit, the reporter constantly posed questions about possible political affiliation or loyalty that AiG might hold toward the administration of President Bush, a proclaimed Christian. It was clear that he held an agenda (perhaps forced on him by a producer at the CBC network) before he ever arrived, and that an extensive outline of his radio documentary was already written (as is often the case in our experience with the secular media). It was up to him to find the quotes to fill the blanks and fit the agenda.
Apparently AiG was first thought of by the CBC as a possible “exhibit A” of a U.S. Christian ministry that was working to advance the Bush agenda. However, failing to establish any link between AiG and President Bush (or anyone else’s) political agenda, the reporter concluded for himself with on-air comments that AiG must be “happy” with President Bush and sees him as an “ally.” Furthermore, as the long program began to unfold, the message that was really being relayed to the Canadian audience was essentially: “Look what’s happening with the church and state becoming closer in the U.S. Watch out: it could happen here, too.”
Although we are on one hand grateful for the exposure, especially for the Creation Museum under construction in Northern Kentucky (which was the unusual starting point for the program’s look at church/state relations in the U.S.), AiG still wonders why the CBC producers sought out AiG when it could have selected a more appropriate U.S. organization to demonstrate how some Christians are using the political and judicial systems to bring about change. At the same time, AiG took it as an acknowledgement that at a grassroots level, AiG’s outreaches have been making an impact in the culture—and that AiG may be even more effective once the Creation Museum opens and proclaims biblical authority and accuracy.
AiG carefully explained to the reporter that AiG has never had a political agenda. In any case, as a non-profit organization, AiG could not support an elected official like a U.S. president (especially during an election year), and would risk losing its tax-exempt Internal Revenue Service (IRS) designation if it did. Nevertheless, the reporter tried hard to link AiG with the faith-based goals and initiatives of President Bush, and continually asked ministry leaders about their views of the President, which we did not offer other than in a general sense.
After the interviews were recorded a few weeks ago, AiG saw a promotional announcement on the CBC-Radio website that confirmed the CBC’s agenda: the feature documentary would show how “church and state seems to be getting closer in the U.S.”
In fact, AiG told the reporter (but it was not aired) that it does not believe that creationists should try to use the political system or the courts to mandate that creation be taught in the government-run school systems. (It would actually be counterproductive to compel science instructors to teach creation, we believe, for many would probably do it poorly and even mockingly.) In addition, any comment from the AiG leadership about an elected official like President Bush is not directly relevant to our non-political mission, we explained. (Apparently, the reporter was aware of the efforts of some Christians to use the court and political systems to force creation into schools, and wanted to paint AiG with the same brush.) During the interviews taped earlier this year, the reporter was visibly disappointed when AiG eschewed commenting on political questions and President Bush’s faith-based initiatives.
In recording Ken Ham’s thoughts as he strolled with the reporter, microphone in hand, in a “hard-hat” tour of the museum’s interior (which the reporter described to the audience as “massive’), Ham explained that the issue of creation vs evolution was not a dichotomy of science against religion, but two worldviews in conflict. Nevertheless, during the in-studio introduction to Ken’s interview, the origins controversy was misframed as a science (i.e. evolution) vs religion (i.e. creation) issue.
Ham also shared that so-called “gay” marriage and increased abortion rates are fed (but not “caused,” he carefully cautioned) by a “do-what-you-want-to-do” mindset that comes out of an evolutionary worldview that offers no absolute standards. The reporter, ever struggling to make a connection between AiG and politics, segued to comments by President Bush against “gay” marriage. He made additional attempts—using back-to-back comments from Ken followed by statements from the president—to link non-political AiG with the “religious right” that generally supports President Bush.
The CBC also replayed one of AiG’s radio programs “Answers … with Ken Ham,” where the connection between abortion and evolution was further explained. But in doing so, the CBC was feebly trying to force a link between AiG and the president’s political agenda regarding his opposition to abortion.
This lengthy documentary also featured atheist Ed Kagin, a Kentucky lawyer who helped lead the opposition to AiG’s Creation Museum project while head of the ironically named group “Free Inquiry”. Kagin declared that he strongly opposes AiG’s dogmatic claim that evolution is wrong and creation is true, and that he has cautioned his children to be wary of any person who claims they really know the truth about origins. At the same time, the program revealed that Mr Kagin has taught his children that evolution’s big bang theory of origins is true (!).
Mr Kagin also implied (and has declared in print before) that AiG is a part of a “religious civil war,” and that America is thus in for “sad times.” He worried, for example, that abstinence and pro-life programs are a part of many Christians” efforts (and AiG by implication) to establish a theocracy in America.
AiG was grateful to hear the positive comments of Pastor Brad Bigney, pastor of Grace Fellowship in Northern Kentucky, whose church has been supporting AiG in many ways. Pastor Bigney told CBC Radio that he agrees with AiG’s stand on biblical inerrancy and accepts Genesis doctrines like original sin. He also echoed AiG’s concerns (shared by AiG with the reporter, but not aired) that Christians should not use hateful rhetoric when confronting the culture with biblical truths.
Please pray for AiG–Canada as it proclaims the authority of the Bible and its gospel message in a nation where the growth of Christian radio and TV has been hindered by government regulation. And pray for those few Bible-upholding Christian TV and radio outlets that exist throughout Canada, as they are monitored by the Canadian government for possible “hate speech” regarding hot issues like “gay” marriage and homosexual behavior. The media in Canada is dominated by a CBC radio/television giant that frequently ridicules the Christian faith and the authority of the Bible, and wants to “warn” Canada—with radio programs like this one—not to become like the U.S. in, as they see it, mixing religion with politics.
AiG-Canada is gearing up for a year which already has greater activity booked than ever before. Please pray that their speakers and resources will be increasingly effective in proclaiming the creation/gospel message in an ever more secular, evolutionized society.